To finish out the 50th, TrekMovie’s Jared Whitley examines the franchise’s five-decade history, dividing them by the classical “Ages of Man” – Golden Age, Silver Age, etc – but with an appropriately Trek twist. Today he looks at its second decade and the exploding movie franchise.
As the 50th anniversary winds down, we’re looking at the various periods of Trek history, decade by decade. Yesterday, we looked at Trek’s Golden Age that included The Original Series, The Animated Series, and the start of the convention experience. We called it the Dilithium Age. Today we’re looking at Trek’s second decade.
Silver Age: 1977 to 1986
It would still be a few years until the crew would warp back into action with The Motion Picture, but the Silver Age would begin just a few months after the launch of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. It’s not an installment of the Star Trek franchise, but the franchise probably wouldn’t exist without it: Star Wars hitting theaters in May 1977. As Leonard Nimoy says in I Am Spock: “Thank you, George Lucas.”
The unprecedented success of the space adventure story spurred the desire for probably more sci-fi copycats in the late ’70s/early ’80s – and of course the most (ahem) logical copycat was one that already had legions of fans.
The Silver Age includes less content than any of the other four – The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, and Voyage Home – but the quality of those installments gave the franchise much-needed legitimacy with wider audiences. TMP got three Academy Award nominations while Voyage Home got four. The age also gave Klingons head ridges.
More importantly, these four movies injected a ton of cash into Star Trek. Inflation adjusted, the average box office for those four is $240 million domestic. (Remember the international box office wasn’t as important back then.) Combined with expanded success in syndication, conventions, and merchandising, and suddenly Star Trek wasn’t just for guys in their moms’ basements.
With more people seeing Star Trek than ever before, and to honor what many still see as the highlight of the entire franchise, we call this period the Transparent Aluminum Age. Rather than ending the age with The Voyage Home, though, I think this age ended when Shatner hosted Saturday Night Live a month later and gave his in/famous “Get a Life” speech … to a bunch of guys in their moms’ basements.
Not only was Star Trek becoming more famous, but so too was its leading man. Also T.J. Hooker happened.
Transparent Aluminum Age
- Start: May 1977
- End: Dec. 1986
- Episodes: 0
- Movies: 4
Return tomorrow when we enter Trek’s Bronze Age!
|Read the rest of the 5 Ages of Trek:
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 1
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 3
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 4
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 5